London, England, UK. Former NFL linebacker Chris Draft visited the Cancer Centre at Guy’s this weekend before taking two of its patients to the Washington Redskins game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley.
The new £160 million centre opened in September and is heavier than its neighbour, The Shard, due to the weight of its radiotherapy machines and treatment rooms.
It is the first cancer centre in Europe to provide radiotherapy treatment above ground level after patients said this would make a huge difference to them.
Chris made the visit as founder of Team Draft, the lung cancer charity he established with his wife Keasha who died of the disease at the age of 38.
Team Draft is dedicated to raising lung cancer awareness and funding by shattering the misconception that lung cancer is purely a “smoker’s disease.”
Chris invited Guy’s cancer patients Tracy Gordon and James Jukes to Wembley as part of his charity’s Survivor at Every Stadium mission with both able to take a friend or relative to accompany them.
Rachel Thomas, Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ said: “It was fantastic to show Chris around our new Cancer Centre which brings together the very latest treatment and research in one place. He is a tireless campaigner and the tickets are a real boost for our patients.”
Chris Draft, co-founder of Team Draft said: “Thank you Guy’s Cancer Centre for supporting Team Draft’s efforts to bring our international campaign to change the face of lung cancer to the UK. It was an absolute pleasure to tour the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s on Saturday, and host lung cancer survivors Jimmy Jukes and Tracy Gordon at the NFL UK on Sunday.”
About 35,000 people die from lung cancer in the UK every year, making it the UK’s biggest cancer killer.
Chris was joined on the visit by David Walker from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. They were given a tour of the centre and met patients Tracy and James to hear about their experiences.
Tracy Gordon, a nurse at King’s College Hospital in London said: “I visit family in Atlanta once a year and always go to an NFL game or watch it on TV. Meeting Chris was lovely as we are both on the same page about wanting lung cancer recognised more.”
Jimmy Jukes MBE, from Bermondsey who runs charity UK Homes 4 Heroes said: “The new cancer centre is great, brilliant. I’d read a lot about Chris and his story so meeting him was a real pleasure”.
The tour of the Cancer Centre at Guy’s was led by Rachel Thomas, Pip Labuc (Lung Occupational Therapist), Tom Fynmore (Lung Physiotherapist) and Liz O’Sullivan (Arts Manager).